Last month’s big unveiling of DICE’s WWI shooter Battlefield 1 was an unqualified success, but before the announcement, publisher EA had their reservations.
That’s fair, especially considering the first World War is entirely new territory for a genre that increasingly focuses on modern/futuristic settings. The past is a foreign country that nobody wants to go to, apparently. But why were the publisher really so worried?
Well, according to EA CFO Blake Jorgensen, there were concerns the company’s younger audience didn’t even know World War I happened. Yes, really.
Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Global Technology Conference, Jorgensen spoke of the debate:
World War 1, we were worried that many of the younger consumers out there didn’t know that there was a World War 2 or Vietnam, so World War 1…
I guess EA thought that the few kids who did at least know about World War II just assumed that George Lucas hadn’t gotten around to doing the prequel yet.
Still, the more DICE pitched, the more EA understood the unique gameplay possibilities that a WWI setting opens up.
I think what people don’t understand about World War 1 is the technology shift that went on during the war, People started the war on horseback and ended the war with airplanes and tanks and battleships and submarines. And that’s a huge opportunity for us to be able to do a video game around.
Battlefield 1 launches October 21, but EA will be hosting a 64 player livestream event at E3 on June 12. If you want a shot a being a part of that action, then walk (or click) this way.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.